Monday, July 21, 2008

Meritocracy examined

Just wanted to point our readers to an insightful analysis done by 'unwanted citizen', someone who's clearly in the know about the medical faculty and intake at University Malaya (UM). My conclusion from his analysis is this - there has been a more transparent implementation of meritocracy, meaning that those students who perform well in STPM AND Matriculation, are getting into the medical program at UM. The clear losers from this are the bumiputeras from Sabah and Sarawak.


Tek Seang said...

ridiculous, most students enter the programme through matriculation courses???

Anonymous said...

If you are sincere and still call this meritocracy, you need your head examined. When you have two exam systems and different grading rubrics mainly split over racial lines, this is not meritocracy. It is cheating in the tallest order in the name of meritocracy.
If you dig through the number of As given in the different systems, they were vastly different too. This is NOT level playing field.
When I was in MU, most bumi students were accepted into preengineering and premedicine. There were given special tutorials before the exams.

frank chong

Shawn Tan said...

It is obvious from the stats that the losers are the Bumis from Sabah and Sarawak. Whether it's a result of meritocracy, is open to interpretation. There is no agreed meaning for "meritocracy". It means different things to different people. That's why everyone has a different opinion on whether or not what's being practised by the government is "true" meritocracy.

Anonymous said...

so next time make sure you give the opposition the mandate to rule the country and bring meritocracy in the real context

i personally could not find the logic of equating matriculation with stpm. This definition of meritocracy was proposed by the former government if i am not mistaken....

Anonymous said...

Hi Shawn,
After 50 years of trying different things, has Malaysia's competitiveness versus other countries improve over this period?
In the 60s and 70s, China, India and many parts of the world were not part of the global economy, in the 80s Malaysia offered lower labour cost compare to Singapore with relatively stable government and infrastructure, when China and India were still unknown. Now what happen?
Here we mostly talk about policy issues, but policy without industrial/scientiffic might is just empty talk. The world's energy, information and food problems need very talented engineers and scientists to solved. It is not that hard to see what is good in these fields. A few years ago, I was in Caltech on their feshman orientation, they were talking about the tradition of excellence in Caltech. Both man and women, white and non white have the same mission and are encouraging to students and parents. They value excellence, not who you are and your colour.

Slightly over a month ago, I was at Harvard and MIT for their graduation ceremony, had the chance to visit their labs and see their projects. Seeing what they do and see what is being discussed here and Malaysian new papers, I do not see how we can narrow the gap if we do not change our mind set.
We can be the best in our own measurements, if we are not competitive, do it matter? As an example, take a look at Monsanto web site and see what they are doing to improve the yield of crops. If Malaysia can do that better than anyone else, that is excellence. You can solved a lot of the world's food shortage problem and employment to many Malaysians.

I feel bad for the natives of Sarawak and Sabah. We are all children of the lesser gods!

frank chong

Avatar said...

Sad that this is the state of Malaysia today.

Keep up the great work.

BTW - Tony, Kian Ming: I've put your blog in list of blog roll. If, you're not comfortable with it, let me know.


Banshee Creative said...

I find it hard to believe there's meritocracy. Yes, the Borneo Family do lose out sigh.

did you see an article in the Sunday Star (I can't seem to find it online) mentioning singapore's new plans for their education system. It's so impressive (at first reading).

sigh.. our country so needs an overhaul. I do worry for my oldest 2 kids who go to primary govt school next year.

Avatar said...

Dear Cuddly Family,

I think you mean this one.

Yes, our education system really lags behind on teaching the really important topics such as Financial Intelligence, Speed Reading, Mnemonics and etc.


Anonymous said...

As have been discussed many many times in this blog on the comparison between MATRIKULASI and STPM, we know which is the superior university entrance examinations.
In the spirit of true meritocracy there can only be by ONE DOOR to enter the Universities here that is STPM
STPM is definitely more comprehensive and a harder examination!
It is not that the government is not aware of the MATRIKULASI quality but MATRIKULASI is the tool they create a PSEUDO MERITOCRACY .
The whole assumption falls apart when the quality of students from both point of entries enter the university where as always those from STPM will always outshine by a huge distance.
It is not about whether Sabah or Sarawak are the losers...the real losers are us. YOU CANNOT EQUATE APPLES ARE EQUAL TO ORANGES! ONLY AN IDIOT WILL SAY BOTH ARE THE SAME!
As usual its UNMO who is winning always...hehe

WY said...

why am i not surprised?

Anonymous said...

You guys haven't looked at the big picture and its complete analysis yet. Have a look at the LKS blog at the following address.

Anonymous said...

What is the difficulty of becoming a doctor? It is so easy to become a doctor in Malaysia. Just take 5 years to ask the following questions
1 Masuk
2 Duduk
3 Apa sakit?
4 Mana sakit?


Anonymous said...

Looks like everyone has forgotten about the students who graduated with Diplomas from IPTAs.

Are we inferior to the STPM students or in particular, matriculation students? Only recently, Diploma students are NOT allowed to take up Med, Dentistry and Pharmacy. For whatever reason I don't know.

And I seriously believe quota still plays a big part in choosing students in IPTA, like it or not.


Anonymous said...

In the good old days those doing dip;oma are those not good enough to do HSC or enter the university

Anonymous said...

We have to accept that the BN government is damn good at manipulative social engineering.

It's sad that youngsters, almost all non-bumiputra, who go through the longer and tougher STPM route are sacrificed compared to the maticulation and asasi students.

As long as we have the BN federal government, we will go through the charade or pretence of the meritocracy route to public universities.

Hanjie said...

Kong Wan Yee, a national top scorer in STPM 2007, scored '1' in all the papers that she took. Together with another five STPM science-stream students, they were awarded recognition by the government on the day the results were announced earlier this year.

However, Wan Yee didn't get her choice of medical school. She put UM as her first choice but was offered UMS instead. Wan Yee appealed but was denied the transfer.

Tell me how do they select the candidates? Being at the very top of the list, why did Wan Yee not get her first choice of university? Can Tony get the answer of this question for Wan Yee and for the many disheartened STPM candidates? This must be rectified before all SPM leavers shun STPM.

And the latest news is that Wan Yee is now going through freshmen orientation program at the National University of Singapore. She will be studying medicine at NUS. She was also offered to study medicine at the University of Hong Kong. A no mean feat for a foreign student to get admitted to these two prestigious medical schools which are known for their very limited places for foreign applicants.

Anonymous said...

It is very unfortunate that we are losing talented students like Wan Yee. OTH, fact remains that even if she got into UM, she might still have left if offered a place/scholarship in NUS or in HKU.

I think many people reading this blog are blinded to the real problem. It is not about meritocracy or a lack of meritocracy. Even in Singapore, the best results does not guarantee a place in medicine school, because they need smart lawyers, scientists in addition to smart doctors.

The real dilemma is how to be fair?

How are we going to come up with a policy that will not lead to a situation where certain professions are dominated by a single race. After all, we are a multiracial country. If we allow the country to fall back into the pre-NEP days, we are just asking for trouble.

We have to look into our secondary education and find a solution there.

Anonymous said...


Since you are so sure, lets tell us how would that work?

Singapore has been way ahead of Malaysia to begin with. Get a grip, think about it.

You think Singapore was really a backward island before they became Independent?

If the center of command of the British in SEA is backward, think about how backward is the rest of the colonies in SEA.

Sure, they have done well, just don't give them too much credit.

Just convince me not by rethoric and blind faith. Tell me how is your plan going to work out for Malaysia.

Anonymous said...

"The clear losers from this are the bumiputeras from Sabah and Sarawak."

Are you sure? Perhaps students from Sabah and Sarawak prefer to study in the medical schools of UMS and Unimas, respectively.

The saddest truth is the blatant manipulation of our education system by our BN politicians, so much so that most of the medical students (bumi and nonbumi alike) at Universiti Malaya went through the easy one-year bumi-dominant in-house-assessed Matrikulasi/Asasi Sains route rather than the tough two-year non-bumi-dominant externally-assessed STPM route.

Unfortunately the dreams of many non-bumi 6th formers, after having struggled for two years of 6th form, will remain unfulfilled, in terms of the courses that they choose to major in at local public universities. Their results are considered not good enough to compete with those of students from the Matrikulasi/Asasi Sains route. They are truly cheated by our BN politicians and MOHE/MOE.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 7/25/2008 03:33:00 PM

The real dilemma is how to be fair?
It is not a dilemma. It's your racist bend -
to assume others will not be able to catch up or compete on the same level.

Always on the lookout for a "handicap".


Anonymous said...

whooaa, very strong accusation.

But again, back to my question, if you can tell me how it will work for Malaysia, please do.

If you cannot..then we better spend more time thinking and discussing about it.

Don't act as if you know the answer when you don't.

Blind faith and wild accusations convince no one.

Well reasoned arguments and facts do.